Paul van der Werf: 2013 Ivey Award for Environmental Excellence

Dec. 06, 2013

At its Community Vitality Celebration on Monday December 2nd, London Community Foundation announced Paul van der Werf as this year’s recipient of the Ivey Award for Environmental Excellence.

The Ivey Award for Environmental Excellence recognizes an individual who has improved the quality of life in London or Middlesex County through his or her voluntary contributions to the environment in environmental justice, natural resource protection, conservation, advocacy, awareness, philanthropy, or land stewardship and management. The recipient has the ability to direct $2000 towards the charity of his/her choice.

Nominated by Yvette Scrivener, Regional Manager of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Paul van der Werf is being honoured for his active contributions to natural resource protection, environmental conservation & advocacy.

After moving to London in the early 1990s, Paul began his journey volunteering in London’s environmental sector. He developed a strong passion for environment and social well-being after managing a centralized composting facility that composted St. Thomas’ food waste.

Over that winter he began to think of how to promote compost and have a positive impact on the community at the same time. Born out of this desire was his “Grow A Row” concept. This was a model he developed to set up a 100’ by 100’ vegetable garden that used compost and whose harvest would be donated to the London Food Bank.

From that time on, Paul became involved with a number of non-profit environmental organizations and initiatives. Demonstrating longstanding leadership in London’s environmental sector, Paul’s work has had a direct impact on the organizations he has worked with.

Notably as Chair of London Composts, Paul has been the driving force that has helped guide this grass roots organization to success. Namely, his leadership has helped London Composts to raise over $100,000 over 15 years, which has filtered back to member community organizations to help them manage their gardens. In that time member groups have been able to grow more than 500,000 pounds of food for clients of the food bank and members of the community who manage the vegetable gardens.

Additionally, Paul has held leadership positions in several organizations such as Goodwill Industries, St. Lenonards Community Services, Habitat for Humanity and TD’s Friends of the Environment Foundation. While serving on these various boards and committees, Paul’s passion and dedication was instrumental in helping these organizations meet significant fundraising and organizational goals.

With the receipt of this award Paul has decided to donate $1000 to  the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and $1000 to the London Community Resource Centre’s “Grow, Cook, Learn” program.

To learn more about the Ivey Award for Environmental Excellence click here.